Connecting The Dots: Hidalgo County Corruption Scandals Linked

Sheriff Lupe Trevino File Photo

A former Hidalgo County District Attorney's Office investigator is out on bond but headed to federal prison.

Aida palacios appeared for sentencing before U.S. District Court Judge Randy Crane in McAllen on Thursday morning.

Palacios got two and a half years federal prison time for a drug trafficking conspiracy charge.

The former investigator pleaded guilty back in April to her role in a drug trafficking scheme that ended with a U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent getting shot in Hargill back in July 2012.

But Judge Crane spent more than an hour trying to get a better understanding of the role Palacios played and the case's connection to other corruption scandals in Hidalgo County.

Connecting The Dots

The former investigator admitted to running license plates, filing fake drug seizure reports and leaking information to her drug dealer boyfriend Julio Armando Davila.

Davila, who was working with drug traffickers named in other corruption scandal, is charged in the same case as Palacios but is currently hospitalized.

It was revealed in court in that Davila also used the home where he and Palacios lived to store marijuana, cocaine and bulk quantities of cash.

According to statements made in open court, Davila was associated with Weslaco drug trafficker Tomas Gonzalez, who goes by the nickname "El Gallo" which Spanish for "The Rooster."

Palacios confirmed in court that she once witness Davila delivering bribe money from El Gallo to former Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevio and former commander Joe Padilla.

Both Trevio and Padilla pleaded guilty to money laundering and are expected to be sentenced in July.

It was also revealed in court that Davila had a connection to Fernando Guerra, Sr., who was just sentenced yesterday to 15 years in federal prison for his role in the Panama Unit scandal.

Other Suspects

Judge Crane is allowing Palacios to remain free on bond until her formal prison assigment is made but she's expected to surrender on May 27th.

Co-defendant Rene Garcia appeared with Palacios on Thursday morning but was sentenced to six and a half years in federal prison for his role in the scandal.

Garcia admitted to participating in a scheme to steal marijuana from an 18-wheeler in Hargill but he incident ended with an ICE agetn getting shot.

Suspects David Olivarez and Arnoldo Adan Davila are expected to be sentenced on Friday.

Lead suspects Pedro Alvardo and his son Arnoldo Alvarado are expected to be sentenced for the ICE agent shooting in June.

Judge Crane told Palacios at her sentencing that she could reduce her sentence even further if she provides more information to investigators.